zebulon kosted – you have no race you have no culture (2017)

zebulon kosted is around since 1999 and “you have no race you have no culture” is his 21st album, so it is quite a miss on my part that i’ve just been tipped off. the work at hand is quite a lot to digest with ease, evidently on purpose, by mechanically combining simple individual elements.

for the first part, one person band is quite a thing. the formula, while possibly lacking the virtuosity of individual players, obviously offers the sole musician endless expressive freedom. we have witnessed where the formula failed horribly. but then we have the ruins of beverast. the bottom line is, in essence we would expect originality and novelty from a one piece band.

second, we have a cycle of destructuring and restructuring of art, “in order to create, you must destroy”. the firmly established rules, guidelines, scales etc. of music (as in many other forms of art) have been continuously challenged, expanded, broken, only to be restructured as a novel form of self-expression. a shining example would be the glorious “einstürzende neubauten”, who destroyed everything we know as music, to bring us self-structured industrial soundscapes.

drawing parallels to the second point, the reshaping / restructuring in black metal has brought us numerous monumental pieces of art to behold in awe; but only after when we left our preconceptions of what black metal “should” sound like and embraced the beauty in the artists’ self-expression. arguably, the man himself ihsahn challenged those preconceptions and the boundaries of black metal by boldly producing those albums that we “now” hold dear. that creative vision paved way to (the later albums of) samael, satyricon, dødheimsgard and the like, to the constant restructuring of black metal and all its subgenres, all the while preserving the essence of black metal: the way it makes you feel. so, along the journey from “under the sign of the black mark” to “666 international” to “skáphe²“, black metal has continuously “evolved”, all the while maintaining its glory.

and finally we have “you have no race you have no culture”, a 52 minute self-expression by rashid abdel ghafur. what at first listen sounds like a total chaos of soundscapes is in itself quite well structured into two 3-song parts, an interlude, intro and outro. the actual songs themselves are quite good examples of restructured black metal. while being fundamentally coherent in themselves, the progression is undeniably unexpected in certain moments. take the opening track “stripping, burning, crushing” as an example. what starts as a good old aggressive blast beat frenzy of a black metal song suddenly delves into a demented fanfare and then melancholia. and you just keep saying “well i didn’t expect that!” i didn’t expect that tempo shift. why is this part here now? aah. the vocals range from raspy shrieks to wailings and always in place, the drums sound quite organic and the bassline is a joy to behold. the guitar sound is inescapably reverbed and buried as a layer but through all that is happening, you just cannot miss those beautiful black metal riffs.

through the rest of the album however, things take quite a different turn. he freely coveys his disdain on urban, religious and racial subjects through spoken word / movie samples. through these parts the sound is definitively industrial. you have mechanic percussions and sound effects galore, layered upon spoken parts. through the interlude especially, we listen to a poor lady’s terrified narration of how sebastian (?) showed him the face of the false god (track name) through the sad story of sea turtle hatchlings (?). after the title track, which blows the heaviest punch, the outro is half racial mumblings and half demented laughter over a pretty drone.

“you have no race you have no culture” obviously is an acquired taste and a lot of work to get into. the artist clearly does not aim at appealing to masses, nor does he hold any regards for conventional art. if the album does appeal to you, it will undoubtedly be a favourite, and if not, it is most certainly “interesting”.


severoth – cамітність / solitude (2016)

severoth is the ukrainian one-man project and the man himself. and his second full-length album, “solitude” is the album title and the feel it gives.

the album includes over one hour of minimal themes with quite generous repetitions, which would tire the listener out in other conventional forms of music. however, in this atmospheric black metal release, those repetitions lay the foundations of the feel he wishes to create, supported by the very deep and distant sound. the foundation of the musical structure is keyboard; mostly haunting, depressive and recurring chords. under the lead of the keyboard, solid (ringing) guitar riffs support the melody and the slow/mid-tempo drum (machine?) is very neat. the album, for the great part is instrumental and the occasional shriek/anguish vocals complement the music so beautifully.

after the obligatory intro composed of eerie keyboard & night time bird hoots, the album explodes with echoing shrieks, double-bass drum attack and the trademark keyboard chords. the first half hour includes two intertwined opening tracks, with simple and recurring keyboard themes. again, a generous time is afforded for the melodies to build and rather stretchy ambient keyboard passages, enriched by natural effects such as blowing wind, storm and hoots, also whispers.

then comes the rather ambient, keyboard heavy autumn’s breath pt. 1&2 and a glowing masterpiece “last birds” in between. that song seems to be everything he wanted to achieve, with a brilliant balance of fury and desperation and the perfect intro & outro. the album closes with a 15 minute-long instrumental, which carries the repetition formula, with heavy use of piano chords, ending the dark and cold experience.

the album would be a fine choice to listen to at night with headphones and attain some of the deepest feelings through black metal. somehow reminiscent of ambient – era burzum. a solid atmospheric piece, making me expectant for more.

throane – derrière nous, la lumière (2016)

just look at the cover. gives an excellent clue about the nature of the music one is about to experience. i love french black metal, i love one man bands and i love gloomy music. so i would love throane, right?

right. such a happy coincidence that i came across the debut album (behind us, the light?) just 2 weeks after its release. the man behind the project, “dehn sora”, is noted for the artwork of other black metal album covers, including none other than blut aus nord.

the album, more of a collection of beautiful black metal soundscapes rather than conventional “songs”, conveys a heavy and thick feeling of darkness, desperation etc. to the listener. not one upbeat moment. the sound is deliberately deep, down tuned and cavernous, which gives a claustrophobic and uneasy feel. again, the sound and feel reminds the haunting moments of blut aus nord, which is a good thing, but without the avant-garde element. this is stripped down, untraditional, low to mid-tempo black metal anguish with sharp and unexpected turns and experimentation.

the album opens slowly and progresses ever so gradually and the songs take up where the previous one left. this continuation of themes and melodies lends the album a coherent structure, yet remaining chaotic and confusing. the layered and blending guitar sound is so 90’s black metal. reverbed high-pitched tremolos and occasional power chords. awesome. the drum work is masterful. anything but monotonous, the drumming follows the melody, leads it, strays from it, adding further elements into the fragmented soundscapes. the rhythm defining bass sound is loud, rather raw and brutal and complements the music wonderfully. the progression of the tempo, from ambient to mid-tempo, syncopated, puts the listener in expectation of an explosion of blast beats, which never come. oh and the vocals. again, look at the cover.

the feeling intensifies as the album progresses, with longer ambient passages of noise effects and finishes off with a peak experience closing song, just over half an hour, leaving me in awe and anticipation of following works. definitely the highlight of my week.

wormlust – the feral wisdom (2013)

don’t really know how to… mental disorder black metal? it is so refreshing and life-affirming to find out that people do such music. just as the colossally awesome cover work hints, the album is an exceptional piece of abstract art. horror, confusion, chaos, atmosphere all put together. there are precious few moments of conventional music, as we know it. the songs are structured in a way that feels random pieces randomly put together, at first few listens. so frequent shifts in tempo, direction and melody. it is so inaccessible and hard-to-listen that it embraces you. i listened, with my beloved headphones over and again and i feel i will do so for some time to come. technically, dare i say the reversal of the bass / lead guitar may be revolutionary. bass leads the melody, supported deliciously by masterful drum work and the guitar for the most part adds the buzz / noise layer with occasional ring / lead exceptions. oh and the electronics. and the atmosphere created collectively. brief singing sections range from furious shrieks to whispers and carry along the atmosphere (besides the album title, everything is in icelandic). the first song explodes with deranged and disorienting energy and confusion after a brief intro and carries on pausing and shifting for over ten minutes. the confusion intensifies at the second track, which wanders the deeper parts of the black metal realm, directionless. possibly my favourite. the third one is more of a totally ambient piece, and it is without exaggeration a masterpiece of deranged and confused form of ambient music, if that is a thing. and the closing track  carries on where the second track left, with so much wandering, experimenting and shifting to give way to the closing minutes of deathblow, where everything is wrapped up beautifully. wow iceland.

alrakis – alpha eri (2011)

alone in a dark and cold room with the windows open is how this piece of music makes me feel. german one-man project alrakis’ sole album (so far) alpha eri is the perfect album for such a narrow audience. the album masterfully combines the outer space feeling with ambient / atmospheric black metal, topped with sorrow and loneliness; a formula tried numerous times with varying levels of success. the overall sound is deliberately distant, as if from underwater. there is no evident distinction of individual songs, the album is rather like a one lengthy song, starting at low tempo, continuing ever slower and ending at an ambient tone. especially that last track ngc 3242 (ghost of jupiter) is a masterpiece in itself. the minimalistic, repetitive and stretched keyboard leads the music, supported by drone-y riffing and shrieks of anguish and loneliness. however, through all this murky soundscape there is an undeniable beauty. alpha eri is such a rare example of a solid, minimalistic and transcendental black metal piece that engulfs the listener on a trip through the stars and feelings. hats off. 

bu müzik bana soğuk, karanlık ve pencereleri açık bir odada yalnızmışım gibi bir his veriyor. alman tek adam projesi alrakis’in şimdiye kadarki tek albümü alpha eri, çok dar bir dinleyici kitlesi için müziğin doruk noktası. albüm son derece başarılı biçimde ambient / atmosferik black metal içine uzay boşluğu hissinin üzerine üzüntü ve yalnızlık katıyor. bu, aslında defalarca denenmiş ve değişik ölçüde başarılmış bir formül. albüm genel olarak istemli biçimde uzaktan veya su altından geliyormuş gibi bir sese sahip. şarkılar arasında belirgin bir geçiş yok; albüm daha ziyade yavaş bir tempoda başlayıp daha da yavaşlayarak devam eden ve ambient halde biten uzun ve tek bir şarkı gibi. özellikle son şarkı ngc 3242 (ghost of jupiter) bir şaheser. minimalist, tekrarlı ve uzun klavye tonlarının öncülük ettiği müziği drone’umsu riff’ler ve acı ve yalnızlık dolu çığlıklar destekliyor. yine de, bütün bu duygu karmaşası içinde inkar edilemez bir güzellik var. alpha eri dinleyiciyi yıldızlar ve duygular arasında bir seyahate çıkaran, sağlam ve boyut ötesi, nadir bir black metal örneği. şapka çıkardım.

urfaust – der freiwillige bettler (2010)

i wanted to keep on enjoying the better-known. there is a dutch duo called urfaust. they do not actually make music as we know it; rather a doom invoking chant, a soundtrack to the end of all hope, joy and life, or simple delirium. der freiwillige bettler (the voluntary beggar) is their last album to date and offers 45 minutes of pain, despair, doom and unconventional black metal majesty. i don’t really know if there are any words (of misspelt german, famous by urfaust), or just shrieks of a deranged person (checked, there are lyrics). the album takes a turn to a weird, after-life atmosphere towards the end and the closing title der zauberer is the song i had picked for the black metal classics list. 

bugün daha iyi bilinen albümlerden devam etmek istedim. urfaust diye hollandalı bir grup var. aslında bildiğimiz şekilde müzik yapmıyorlar. yaptıkları daha ziyade kıyameti çağıran ilahiler veya tüm umudun, neşenin ve hayatın bitişinin fon müziği veya sadece hasta bir ruhun hezeyanları. der freiwillige bettler (gönüllü dilenci) grubun bugüne kadar yaptığı son albüm ve bize 45 dakikalık acı, umutsuzluk, kıyam ve alışılmadık bir black metal ihtişamı sunuyor. şarkı sözleri var mı, yoksa delirmiş birinin yakarışları mı tam olarak emin değilim (baktım, sözler varmış). albüm sonlara doğru iyice tuhaf, kabir sonrası bir atmosfere bürünüyor ve kapanış şarkısı der zauberer’i daha önceden black metal classics listesine de seçmiştim.

the ruins of beverast – rain upon the impure (2006)

tam 78 dakikalık (6 şarkı) bir trans hali. tarifi pek kolay olmayan bir albüm. biraz alman övmek gerekirse, alexander von meilenwald adında bir dahinin tek başına yürüttüğü bir muhteşemlik the ruins of beverast. 2006 tarihli 2. stüdyo albümü kış, gece, orman, yalnızlık, hayalet orduları gibi unsurlar içeren cümleler kurduruyor. şarkılar uzun, hipnotik, düzensiz olarak tekrar eden ve insana musallat olan geçişler içeriyor. albümün uzaklardan geliyor gibi bir sesi olmakla beraber enstrümanlar ve (gerçekten muhteşem) vokal temiz olarak duyuluyor. vokal, müziğin yaratmak istediği acı dolu / psychedelic atmosferi çok çok iyi tamamlayacak şekilde. şarkılar bir bütünün parçası gibi, yine de korolu, varyasyonlu ve süründürücü blood vaults biraz öne çıkıyor gibi.

lurker of chalice – lurker of chalice (2005)

tamamen şans eseri denk geldiğim, iki gündür dinlemeden duramadığım albüm. lurker of chalice, abd’li leviathan’ın tek kişisi wrest’in yan projesi ve tek stüdyo albümünün adı. yer yer leviathan’ı andırsa da ayrı bir proje olması normal. albüm bir miktar lo-fi, enstrümanların kasten birbirine karıştığı, drone’umsu bir sese sahip. tam 1 saat boyunca kıyamet sonrası / kabir sonrası merakımızı gideriyor. son derece karanlık, depresif, (ambient burzum dönemi) su altı hissi veren, doom/black aleminde gezinen bir albüm. wrest’in aslen davulcu olmasından dolayı sağlam bir müzikal temele oturmuş, arada progresif geçişler barındırıyor. şarkılar tipik öfkeli black metal tremolo / blast beat yerine uzun, yavaş, acılı, psychedelic, bol tekrarlı bir yapıda. dinleyeni içine çeken, sonuna kadar da bırakmayan bir albüm. standart altı anlar bulunmamakla beraber “spectre as valkerie is” muazzam bir şarkı.